Successful Gardening in 2010

January 25, 2010 by Rick


1. Hardy Perennials – Gardeners are asking what plants thrive both frost and hot summer temperatures. These plants tolerate frost quickly recover after cold weather. These popular plants are what customers will have the most success with and will remove some fear of planting. Plant success!


                           Sedum Florida Friendly Gold


                                             Blue Eyed Grass


                                 Bulbine – Jelly Burn Plant 

                                            Dianthus Firewitch

2. Drought Tolerant Grass and Accent Plants – Gardeners looking for long lived, easy care plants that will survive the typically dry spring and fall growing seasons will be successful with these plants. For the Top 20 Drought Tolerant Florida Perennials go to

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                  Purple Showers                                       Purple Queen               


                                              Variegated Flax Lily

3. Butterfly Plants – For success in attracting butterflies to your garden you can use both the nectar host plants and the larval host plants. Plant them in a sunny site them in the landscape. Refer to the Home Depot tag information for suitable planting conditions.

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                Lantana                              Pentas                               Milkweed

For the Top 20 Drought Tolerant Perennials and the Top 20 Florida Butterfly Plants go to

SausEdgeTM is an innovative way to save money and time and get instant results in your garden. Several popular varieties make an instant border in your garden.


See the video at

or search Sausedge on Youtube

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                              Cuban Gold Duranta from SausEdgeTM


                                          Lantana from SausEdgeTM



Classic Selections are an economical way to plant perennials and use less plastic.


Classic Creations give instant results for combinations in your own containers.


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Visit the Fakahatchee Strand

January 22, 2010 by Rick

About 30 years ago we had a chance to visit the Fakahatchee Strand on a hiking tour through the swap and hammocks with the Florida Native Plant Society. It is located in the Big Cypress Swamp on this map.


Map picture


We hiked with Dr. Richard Wunderlin who pointed out local native plants, many of which were only found in the strand. Dr. Wunderlin is the driving force behind The Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants. We saw snakes, alligators, birds and ghost orchids, to name a few, while wading in up to waist deep water in this part of the Everglades. It was a trip we will never forget.




The Southwest Florida Green Directory is a place where you connect with Southwest Florida's green businesses, green products, green services, green organizations, green events, green news, and green places to go. The group is visiting Fakahatchee Island. You can join them for what will be a trip you will always remember. Click their link for details. Friends of the Fakahatchee Stand also has trips through the strand and leads the coastal cruise.


Map picture



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Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition

January 20, 2010 by Rick

Each January growers get together at the Ft Lauderdale Convention Center to showcase the newest innovations in Tropical Plants that are available to ship to garden centers throughout the country and Canada. Check out some exotic beauties coming to a Home Depot garden center near you.





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Wrong Plant – Wrong Place

January 18, 2010 by Rick

Fine Gardening article by Billy Goodnick “When Bad Taste Meets Power Tools”

You don’t have to look far to see horror stories in your own neighborhood. The aesthetics of garden design are more open for personal touch and interpretation than the design of our home interior and exterior. Often our homes in our communities are built to comparable size, setback and style and the landscape is left for personalization buy the owner or tenant.


If you study neighborhoods and landscapes you can see how first impressions of landscapes can turn your eyes away and influence the real value of properties. A study indicated here in this post; 

Increase the Value of Your Home and Enjoy Doing It 

gives you a true sense of the facts and figures on improvements you need to make.



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Pot-in-Pot, The Ultimate Winter Plant Protection

January 12, 2010 by Rick


The weather outside is frightful… By Florida standards anyway. At the nursery, we cover acres of plant with Frost Cloth every time a freeze threatens. This works very well except when the wind blows the cloth off your plants. At home I use a different method I developed called Pot-in-Pot Landscaping.



I use an empty pot as a sleeve. It is the same size pot as the pot of the plant I am installing

and I drop it in for a finished job. When the frost threatens, I lift the plants and park them in my garage for the evening.


The method has many reason for you to consider using it in Florida. Follow this link to 21 reasons for Pot-in-Pot Gardening. This works also well for larger containers and combinations too.


Using this method in combination with a drip irrigation system save water and improves plant quality and longevity. Pot-in-Pot is also ideal for using tender plants within large containers as shown here.



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Temple Terrace Trees –Right Plant-Right Place

January 10, 2010 by Rick

Temple Terrace, located on the East Side of Tampa,  is designated by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City USA. Some of our Florida Native Trees are the best choice for longevity and structure.

Trees make gardening in Florida much more enjoyable. I can’t imagine gardening without the partial shade of trees. Plants growing in the full sun all day require so much more water to look their tropical best.


Trees create a micro climate as we see on days like today after a freezing night like last night. Trees prevent some radiation heat loss. As you look around your neighborhood this week you will see how much better plants growing under the trees survived this extreme cold snap of 2010.


Temple Terrace Trees


The Temple Terrace Garden Club, the city of Temple Terrace and Tampa Electric Co. have produced a full-color Temple Terrace Tree Guide That is available with in formation on how to select the right tree for the right spot.


The guides are at the Temple Terrace Public Library, 202 Bullard Park way, and Temple Terrace City Hall, 11250 N. 56th St. Similar information can be found on the web at:

Tampa Electrics Florida Tree Planting Guide

TECO also has information about tree trimming. Learn much more about all the Florida Trees at this University of Florida Extension Service site.


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Categories: 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | U of F Cooperative Extension Service | Environmental Awareness Education | Cool Season Gardening | Florida Friendly Landscape
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Kew Botanical Gardens Conservatory

January 6, 2010 by Rick


A few years ago we visited London and The Kew Botanical Gardens. This first slide show features the grounds near the entrance and the Palm House and Tropical Rainforest collections. I will post other sections later. The Conservatory was completed in 1848 in the Victorian Era. These showcase Gardens have been on my list of places to visit since I first heard about them as a teenager. It is a trip I will always remember. Most of the palms and tropical plants are species we can grow here in Florida.


Kew has the greatest collection of plants in existence and has them cataloged with many species accessible for study. You could spend a day in the grass garden or climb the alpine section exploring the rocks for a week. Think you know most of the salvia species? Take a look at the salvia garden and think again.


Kew offers many educational opportunities for all ages and all levels of gardeners. The Brits are over the top with gardening. I could spend a summer there traveling to British gardens and estates. Make that 2 summers. I hope to visit the Cornwall region in southwest England and the Eden Project, Cornwall’s most visited attraction. Cornwall is also where they film my favorite television series, Doc Martin.


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Categories: Kew Gardens
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Fairchild Botanical Garden Photos

January 3, 2010 by Rick

This garden is one of Florida’s treasures and one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Visitors have shared their images of this tropical south Florida paradise in the slide show below. The garden is home to thousands of palm species where research continues on their preservation and use. There is always something special happening at Fairchild.


There is a strong focus on Butterfly Gardens and plants that attract them. The plants are well attended and labeled by many volunteers. Native Florida Plants are featured here as well. Plants collected from around the world give you ideas of what you can use in designing your own colorful tropical settings in your patio and home landscape.


The garden is located just south of Coral Gables and Coconut Grove where you can walk the streets and enjoy the sounds, smells, tastes and sights of a happening culture. You can’t take your dog to the restaurants any more or the garden for that matter but they do have fun dog parks and dog friendly hotels. The streets of Coconut Grove are fun to walk. It is like walking through a tropical garden with exotic plants that grow to their full size in a non-jungle setting where you can get a real appreciation of their grandeur.


There are so many great places to eat in the area. The Red Fish Grill is an old coquina building sitting on the bay in Matheson Hammock Park. You will love the setting, seafood and the perfect weather. We like to go on a day between November until April when the weather is usually warm, sunny and such a change from northern parts of Florida.


The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens are close by on Biscayne Bay. The Gardens are in a coastal hardwood hammock. You can see Florida Friendly Plants that have been used for decades in all their glory. I will have much more on this in later posts.


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Categories: Florida Friendly Landscape | Butterfly Garden | Design
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Poinsettia History

December 31, 2009 by Rick

The Christmas flower history is an American story that has fascinated more than just gardeners and has propelled poinsettias into a significant part of our seasonal traditions. Below is a slide show from what could be considered a living museum dedicated to the poinsettia in Carlsbad California. This is brought to by The Ecke Family and The Ecke Ranch.


With Christmas behind us the big question always asked by Florida gardeners is what do you do with these beautiful symbols of this joyous season. Here in Florida we can enjoy Poinsettias in the landscape as lush growing tropical bushes that flower in the fall with bracts that last until spring.


There are several things to keep in mind when planting poinsettias. They like a compost rich soil with at least 50% organic matter and a well drained site. Organic matter is home to beneficial organisms like good fungus, good nematodes and bacteria that feed on harmful parasitic nematodes and fungi. Poinsettias need moderate fertilizer and water. Keep them mulched with oak leaves or a sustainable renewable  farmed mulch like eucalyptus mulch. Pinching until September helps keep them short but is not required with the new modern dwarf self branching varieties.


They like a bright sunny location that gets at least 5 hours of nearly direct sun. They need to be planted where they can get uninterrupted nights. Nights without light from street lights, porch lights or cars. Night lights that interrupt continuous regular nighttime darkness from late September until mid October will prevent or delay blooming. 


The poinsettia history museum is located at The Flower Fields® in Carlsbad California an is open in the spring. The 2010 season begins March 1st. For over sixty years, Mother Nature has transformed the rolling hills of North San Diego County into one of the most spectacular and coordinated displays of natural color and beauty anywhere in the world. The nearly fifty acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers that make up The Flower Fields® at Carlsbad Ranch are in a full bloom for approximately six to eight weeks each year - from early March through early May - literally bringing the famous fields back to life.


This annual burst of color, which has become part of the area's local heritage, is also one of nature's official ways of announcing the arrival of spring here in Southern California.

Season: Spring (March 1st through May 9th, 2010)

Hours: Open to the public seven days a week
from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM



You probably heard it incorrectly over and over again that poinsettias are poisonous. Well, THEY ARE NOT POSIONOUS! Here is a video that proves it and a link to the official government statement.


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Categories: 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping
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Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago

December 26, 2009 by Rick

Twice I have been to Garfield Park Conservatory and Gardens. The Chicago area is a great place to live if you like to garden and visit famous gardens. The Chicago Botanical Garden is one of the best in the world. Summer is the best time to visit this area. The Gardens at Cantigny in West Chicago are amazing as well. I will have sets later of these gardens.


Much of what is growing inside the Conservatory we can grow outside here in Florida. There are too many fern images so just skip ahead on the slideshow if you like to the flower gardens. Click the full screen button and then escape to revert to normal size.



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Categories: Design | Design
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